How the RJC and JDCA are preparing for the election’s final stretch

Matt Brooks, executive director for the RJC, told the Post that there’s no change to the coalition’s plan due to President Donald Trump’s illness.

COLORADO RESIDENTS vote in the US midterm elections (photo credit: REUTERS)
COLORADO RESIDENTS vote in the US midterm elections
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – With less than four weeks until Election Day, both the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) and the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) are preparing for the final stretch effort, including phone banking, TV ads with celebrities, and targeted ads online.
Halie Soifer, executive director of the JDCA, said that due to COVID-19, the group is not doing any in-person door-knocking campaigns.
“We’re not going door-to-door – we’re going device-to-device,” she said. “We’re doing phone banking, and we have digital ads. But to be clear, these aren’t just Facebook ads: These are ads that follow voters wherever they are online. We are targeting over two million Jewish voters in swing states, and they will see our ads multiple times between now and the election.”
She said the council has expanded its operations “considerably” in the past year, tripling the staff’s size, and adding 30 student fellows. The organization is active in 14 states that JDCA considers competitive.
“We’ve endorsed over 120 candidates in preparation for engaging the voters in the final month of the election,” Soifer noted. “We are mobilizing voters in three ways. The first is that we have an ongoing digital ad program targeting Jewish voters in those 14 swing states that will decide the presidential and Senate elections’ outcome. And our ads are in support of Joe Biden, but also Senate and House candidates. Our ads have had over 16 million impressions so far.”
JDCA released six video ads, and the organization will add three new ads next week. One of them features celebrities who support Joe Biden. “Our 14 chapters are phone banking and text banking voters daily. So far, we’ve reached over 100,000 voters this way, and we’re going to more than double that in the next few weeks,” Soifer said.
Matt Brooks, executive director for the RJC, said there’s no change to the coalition’s plan due to President Donald Trump’s illness.
“Our plan was put in place back in 2018, and we’ve been executing it since then. We are committed to spending $10 million in our outreach efforts to the Jewish community this election,” he said.
“We have recently announced the launch of a $3.5m. TV ad buy in Florida, and we continue to execute our grassroots plan, which has already resulted in over 400,000 direct voter contacts with likely Trump supporters and persuadable Jewish voters.” He said the RJC’s efforts are focused on critical battleground states: Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona and Georgia.
“Our mail program has just been started,” he added. “We plan to mail over 500,000 pieces of mail to our target voter list in those key battleground states and, given the technological innovations that have been implemented this year, we’ve got the most sophisticated voter ID turnout operation ever in history, so we know everybody who we believe is a persuadable voter based on our voter ID calls or is a committed Trump voter.”
Brooks said that the RJC system could tell if a voter requested a vote by mail or absentee ballot and will know when that ballot has been returned. “We will know on a real-time basis if they have voted early, and so [we could] target specific messages – for instance, to the people who requested an absentee ballot but haven’t turned it in yet, who we think is the likely voter for us,” he noted.
“We’ll make sure to give them a message to remind them to turn in their ballot. If they voted early, we would know we don’t have to work on them to maximize turnout on Election Day, so we take them off the ‘Election Day, get out the vote’ effort.”
He also addressed the situation in the polls, where the president is currently trailing his challenger by some eight points nationally, with a smaller gap on swing states. “We believe [that] this is a competitive race,” said Brooks.
“This is basically a 48% Democrat 48% Republican polarized electorate. So we’re working hard to win over the four or five percent of the people in the middle who are undecided,” he said. “And I remain confident that when the election is over, it will demonstrate that the president increased his share of the Jewish vote compared to 2016.”
“This has been a challenging week. I don’t think we really know what the state of play is [given] the president’s COVID diagnosis [and] how that affected the race,” he continued. “But there’s no question in my mind that this race is still competitive.”